Three Bombs Rock Algiers
Feb. 12, 1998
ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ Three bombs exploded in and around Algiers today, killing two people and injuring 28 others, Algeria's security forces said. The attacks came as a European Union delegation was ending a peace mission to the insurgency-wracked North African country.
It was not immediately clear if the bombings were connected to each other or were linked to the five-day visit.
The delegation is the second this year to be allowed into Algeria to look for ways to end bloodshed in the nation's Islamic insurgency, which has killed an estimated 75,000 people since 1992. Algeria's military regime previously has resisted any outside attempt to help stem the violence.
The envoys met Wednesday with Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia and other officials.
Authorities blame repeated civilian massacres and other violence on the insurgents, who are fighting to install a strict Islamic regime. But some Algerians and human rights groups have called for an independent investigation to find out whether others _ notably the army _ might have a role.
Today's bombs exploded within four hours of each other, with the first going off near a military barracks in Birkhadem, just south of central Algiers, killing one civilian and injuring four others, security forces said.
Two hours later, a bomb exploded near a cafe in Bab el Oued, near the ancient Casbah, killing one and injuring 14. Another bomb exploded in a shop in the same neighborhood, injuring seven people.
The bombings came one day after the Islamic group chastised the EU delegation's leader for publicly tearing up a letter from its leaders seeking a meeting.
The gesture of Andre Soulier of France was ``unbefitting political and diplomatic usage,'' the Islamic Salvation Front's office-in-exile said Wednesday.
Soulier said the EU delegation had concluded it was better to tear up the envelopes than open them, because they had promised the Algerian government they would not speak with Islamic rebels.